Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lemon Galette

amazing yummy-ness!
The challenge for Have the Cake this month was to make a Galette.  What is a galette you may ask - good question!  It is a thin, crisp open faced tart.  Unlike most tarts, this one requires no tart pan.  It is more rustic looking and I really like that look!
I found the recipe for Lemon Galette on  The recipe there was reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen and had all rights reserved.  I'm not about to infringe on someone's copyright so be sure to visit the link for this amazing recipe!

Fudge Babies - caution; highly addictive

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The challenge for August, on  the Monthly Challenge, was to visit another members blog and try one of their recipes.
I wanted to take my appetite towards another direction... raw baby, raw. I admit I have been a bit intrigued by the raw diet. Not so much that I want to go raw, but intrigued nonetheless. Housewife in the raw has some appealing recipes but I wanted to go with something I knew I would like... chocolate. I mean, can you really go wrong with anything made from chocolate???? I tried a recipe for Fudge babies- or homemade Lara Bars. These are fudgy, nutty and oh so naughty tasting! These will definitely be something I will make again in the future. Go here for her information and take a peek at her blog. I'm going to do a repeat visit and try her granola recipes next!

My only complaint with this recipe was that it didn't make near enough.
they don't photograph pretty but they taste good!
Fudge Babies
adapted by me

1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
1 1/3 cup pitted dates
1 teapoon vanilla extract
4 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder

I threw everything in to my vita mix and hit the power button. Once everything was chopped up, I took the dough and rolled in to little balls. I'm thinking that I will roll them into coconut next time

August Daring Bakers Challenge: Baked Alaska

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The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

Hubby surprised me with an ice cream maker : -)  He said it was for me but I know it was because he didn't want any more late nights of having to stay up so that I could mix the ice cream.  Its not like we were up THAT late last month!!! Its a nice, simple cheapie machine that will provide us with some major yumminess in months to come.

I'm all about different flavors but hubby, my mom and son all like the boring vanilla ice cream.  Thankfully a vanilla recipe was provided for us so I knew that A: it would be good and B: I wouldn't have to go doing a web search for an awesome vanilla ice cream.

The cake was over baked but did have a good taste to it.  Sort of reminded me of the chocolate chip cookies I make using browned butter.  If you have never browned butter, you are in for a treat! Just the smell of the butter browning is heavenly!

The recipe I used for meringue made way to much.  Maybe I just didn't cover mine up enough, I don't know.  All I know is that I had enough to cover six more cakes!  I thought I would just bake the remainder of the meringue into cookies but they dried out into this funky sponge texture... almost rubbery.  Ick, wasn't impressed with that at all!  Over the ice cream itself though it was quite good.

Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (165g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (500ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod. Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for an hour. (If you do not have a vanilla bean, simply heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams, then let cool to room temperature.)

2. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2 litre) bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.

3. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour ¼ cup warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.

I couldn't resist! It looked as if it were smiling
at me so I added some Kix cereal for eyes.
4. Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract (1 teaspoon [5ml] if you are using a vanilla bean; 3 teaspoons [15ml] if you are not using a vanilla bean) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

5. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze in an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make it without a machine. See instructions from David Lebovitz: here 

Brown Butter Pound Cake

19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.

2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.
this is how the browned butter looks
3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.

5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.

6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Meringue (For the Baked Alaska)
8 large egg whites
½ teaspoon (3g) cream of tartar
½ teaspoon (3g) salt
1 cup (220g) sugar

     Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar gradually in a slow stream until stiff peaks form.

Assembly Instructions – Baked Alaska
1. Line four 4” (10cm) diameter tea cups with plastic wrap, so that plastic wrap covers all the sides and hangs over the edge. Fill to the top with ice cream. Cover the top with the overhanging plastic wrap and freeze for several hours, or until solid.

2. Level the top of the brown butter pound cake with a serrated knife or with a cake leveler. Cut out four 4” (10cm) diameter circles from the cake. Discard the scraps or use for another purpose.

3. Make the meringue (see above.)

4. Unwrap the ice cream “cups” and invert on top of a cake round. Trim any extra cake if necessary.

5. Pipe the meringue over the ice cream and cake, or smooth it over with a spatula, so that none of the ice cream or cake is exposed. Freeze for one hour or up to a day.

6. Burn the tips of the meringue with a cooking blow torch. Or, bake the meringue-topped Baked Alaskas on a rimmed baking sheet in a 500°F/260°C oven for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Zucchini, zucchini, zucchini! : Marmalade and Pickles

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My in-laws are awesome.  They grow a garden and I get the fruits of their glory :-)  I must confess though.... I am getting a bit zucchini(ed) out.  The rest of the zucchini I get will be frozen for future baking adventures.

Amply supplied though, I was able to experiment this year.  Previously I posted the recipe for some amazing zucchini relish (which I ended up making a second batch to have on hand!) and today I will share with you the recipes for the Zucchini Marmalade and Zucchini Pickles.  The marmalade is awesome tasting, even if it didn't quite jell to the consistency I like.  The pickles are pretty good, too. Although, the pickles don't quite have the zing to them that I like a pickle to have. 

yummy looking, isn't it!
Zucchini Marmalade
2 lbs zucchini or Summer squash
juice of 2 lemons, seeds removed
1 teaspoon grate lemon zest (yellow rind portion)
1 13.5 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1 package Certo (or other powdered pectin)
5 cups sugar (no substitute)
2-3 tablespoons candied ginger, finely minced  (I had to substitute with 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
5-6 1/2 pint canning jars

Have ready 5-6 1/2 pint canning jars, washed and sterilized .
Wash the zucchini, peel and slice. In a non-aluminum kettle, combine lemon juice, lemon zest (the lemon zest is the yellow portion of the peel which has all of the white parts removed), and the drained pineapple (save the pineapple juice for something else).
Bring to a boil and immediately lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
Stir in pectin and boil again. Add sugar, ginger, and continue to boil the mixture for another minute, stirring all the while.
Remove kettle from heat, skimming off any foam which rises to the surface. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes. Ladle into hot sterile jars and seal according to manufacturer's directions.
Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.

Zucchini Pickles
2 pounds zucchini or summer squash, sliced, about 7 cups
2 medium onions, halved and sliced, about 2 cups
1/4 cup salt
2 cups white vinegar
1 to 2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons mustard seed


Place squash and onions in a large non-reactive pot; add the salt and enough water to cover. Let stand for 2 hours; drain well. In a 2-quart saucepan, bring remaining ingredients to a boil; pour over the squash and onions. Let stand for 2 hours. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes; pack in hot sterilized jars and seal; process according to jar manufacturer's directions or process pints or quarts for 10 minutes from 1 to 1,000 feet, 15 minutes from 1,001 to 6,000 feet, or 20 minutes above 6,000 feet in altitude.
Makes about 3 pints.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cookie Carnival Challenge: Coconut Cherry Bars

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This are absolutely heavenly!!
Oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about baby!  These bars are the best! What an excellent choice for this month's challenge.  I altered the recipe a bit as I usually do.  Sorry, but I just don't do maraschino cherries - those are just nasty! Besides, why use a jar product when fresh cherries are available??  Didn't make sense to me.  I had a bag of sweet cherries just calling out to me to be used.  The only problem was that my mom and  I are the only coconut fans in the house so we ended up eating the entire pan!

The recipe for the Coconut Cherry Bars, done the Betty Crocker way, is available here. I'm going to put the recipe down that I adapted.  Enjoy!
Coconut Cherry Bars
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup chopped almonds
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup pitted and chopped cherries
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond extract

1.Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease 8- or 9-inch square pan.
2.In medium bowl, mix 1 cup flour, the butter and powdered sugar with spoon until flour is moistened. Press mixture in pan. Bake 10 minutes.
3.In medium bowl, beat eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spread over baked layer.
4.Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. I cut twenty square pieces.

Now go bake some!!!

Peach Mango Salsa

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Costco sells this Peach Mango Salsa that my son really loves, but I'm not in love with the price! I was able to get my hands on some ripe peaches and thought I would try my luck at canning my own peach mango salsa. I found a recipe at for Peach Salsa II but it wasn't quite what I was looking for so I scoured the Internet and read a few other recipes and made my own. Please use your own wisdom when trying someone's home canning recipes. Its always best to check with your extension office to see if a recipe is safe before using! Thanks.  This recipe is heavenly! I used up an entire jar at our pinochle party!

Peach Mango Salsa

3 cups fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and chopped
1 mango - peeled, pitted and chopped
1 medium sized sweet onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1cup diced roma tomatoes
4 jalapeno peppers, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
juice of one lime
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (49 gram) package fruit pectin crystals
3 1/2 cups white sugar
5 pint sized canning jars

     Sterilize jars and lids.
     In a large saucepan, combine peaches, mango, tomatoes, onion, pepper, cilantro, garlic, cumin, vinegar, and lime zest, lime juice. Stir together pectin and 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to a boil, and stir in remaining 3 1/2 cups sugar. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir for 5 minutes.
     Pour peach mango salsa into prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch air space. Seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
putting my mom to work!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

MSC August: Triple Citrus Cupcakes

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This month's challenge was chosen by Marthe of Culinary Delights.  I have to say that while this cupcake wasn't a big hit at our pinochle party, I thought it was quite delicious! The recipe made a ridiculous amount of 36 cupcakes.  I ended up making 24 regular size cupcakes and thirty-six minis.  I put the minis in the freezer and I will use them up with my Sunday school class or next potluck. I was hesitant about using the citrus glaze as I felt it would be super sweet and it was on its own, but lightly covering the cupcake really brought out the fruitfulness of this cupcake. Since this recipe used 9 eggs and a pound of butter and I was not completely "Wowed" by this cupcake, I likely will not make it again.  If you would like to learn more about the Martha Stewart Cupcake challenge visit here

Triple-Citrus Cupcakes
from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, page 64; makes 36

3 1/2  cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 3 lemons)
3 tablespoons finely grated orange zest (from 2 oranges)
3 tablespoons finely grated lime zest (from about 3 limes)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
9 large eggs, room temperature
Citrus Glaze (made with lime juice and zest; page 315, recipe below)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl every few minutes. Add citrus zest. Reduce speed to medium, and add vanilla. Add eggs, three at a time, beating until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in four batches, beating until completely incorporated after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full; tap pans on counter top once to distribute batter. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

To finish, dip tops of cupcakes in glaze, then turn over quickly and garnish with zest. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Citrus Glaze
from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, page 315; makes about 1 cup

1 1/2  cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more if needed
1/4 teaspoon finely grated citrus zest
3 tablespoons fresh citrus juice, plus more if needed    (I used the juice of one lime)

Whisk together all ingredients until smooth. If necessary, add more sugar to thicken or more juice to thin the glaze. Use immediately.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Alaskan Cod.... oh my, its yummy!

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      Fish and I are not friends.  The smell is icky and the texture is just gross.  Believe it or not, I will eat tuna fish sandwiches... don't try to figure that one out since even I can't understand it.  Canned tuna fish has to be one of the fishiest smells around! 

      In my quest for better health, for hubby and I, fish was just a no brainer to add to the diet.  I've heard that cod is rather mild tasting and this was one of the fish hubby enjoys, usually deep fried of course.  I wanted to find a recipe that gave me lots of flavors to bounce off my tongue along with the taste
 of the fish. 

     This recipe was indeed yummy... yep, the two words I thought would never cross my lips at the same time - delicious and fish.  The cod was not overly fishy tasting at all.  My only thing would be for me texture wise it was probably appeal to me more if there was a bit more of a crispy crust covering it.  Then I got this mind blowing idea....    I'm going to leave you hanging there for a second.  Here is this amazing recipe for cod that I adapted from the original recipe I found here

    Cod with Italian Crumb Topping
1/4 cup fine dry Italian bread crumbs (Next time I'm making my own bread crumbs)

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I added even though I
used the seasoned bread crumbs... it just upped the flavor)
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
 freshly ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste ( I used 1/2 a teaspoon and it wasn't enough)
4 (3 ounce) fillets cod fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 small lemon freshly squeezed

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare your pan for baking.  The original recipe said to coat the rack of a broiling pan with cooking spray.  I just covered a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly sprayed with a cooking spray.
2. In a shallow bowl or platter, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, cornmeal, seasonings, salt and pepper; set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine the the olive oil, mayonnaise and lemon juice.  Stir to make sure all ingredients are blended.
4. Pat the fish dry using a paper towel. 
5. Rub the oil mixture over both sides of the fish, coating it completely.
6. Spoon the crumb mixture evenly on top, or just dip it like I did and press the crumb coating on.

Bake in a preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork and is opaque all the way through.

I'm telling you, this fish turned out yummalicious! But now for that
bit of a cliff hanger I left you with...
I had just finished canning five pints of peach mango salsa (recipe to come another day I promise!)  and there was a bit left over in the bottom of my pan.  It isn't as pretty as the full package deal since it was just bottom stuff; all the best of the goodies had been put in the jars.  Still I wasn't going to let it go to waste so I put some of the remaining salsa on top of the cod and..... WOWZERS!  Talk about a mouth explosion! 

Zucchini Relish

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This week I'm putting up some items with the bountiful garden harvest my friends and family have shared with me.  First up is this Zucchini Relish - let me honest with you, when I was a kid the closest I would get to eating a zucchini would be if it was in a bread or muffin.  Until my thirties believed that the only good vegetable was one that could be completly disguised or doused with an incredible amount of ranch dressing! Pickles counted as a vegetable for me and so did french fries.  Then all of a sudden I started craving the weirdest things.... things that were green (and no I'm not talking about mold!) things that you could actually count on a food pyramid.  I don't know why my taste changed and I really don't care.  Now I'm just wondering why did I miss out on so much yumminess before??  There are still some things I dislike (brussel sprouts, asperagus and cauliflower come to mind) but in my new fascination with flavors of the healthy kind, I'm trying things I never tried before. 

I have never made relish but it seemed simple enough to try.  My in-laws have a garden and their zucchini is abundant so when asked if I wanted some I eagerly nodded my head up and down.  I looked through several different zucchini relish recipes and leaned towards this one with a few modifications.  Please make note.... I am not a professional.  You try these recipes at your own risk (I always wanted to use that disclaimer!! LOL) If you have questions about canning preserves it is best to ask your home extension office.

Zesty Zucchini Relish
(adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving for quantity)

6 c zucchini, finely chopped
2 c onion, chopped (I used red onion as it was what I had on hand)1 1/2 bell peppers, seeded & chopped (I like the red and yellow bell peppers so that is what I used )
2 1/2 T canning salt
1 1/4 c sugar
1 1/4 c white vinegar
1/2 T nutmeg
1/2 T ground turmeric (careful, this stuff will turn your plastics yellow!)
2 T prepared horseradish  (I wanted it to be more zesty so I used 4 tablespoons)
1 jalapeno, including seeds chopped  (one wasn't enough for me so I used two jalapenos)

In a stainless steel bowl put the zucchini, onion, peppers & salt  and cover.  Let sit for 12 hours or overnight at room temperature. Drain & rinse with cool water. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible with your hands.

Place the drained vegetables in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Add the sugar, vinegar, nutmeg, turmeric, horseradish & chili pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce & allow to simmer for about 45 minutes stirring from time to time. It is done most of the liquid has been reduced & it has the consistency of a thin relish.

Prepare 5 half-pint jars by boiling them for 20 minutes. Boil the lids for five.
Fill the hot jars with the hot relish leaving 1/2-inch head space. Clean the rims. Put the top on & hand screw on the neckbands. Place the jars back into the boiling water & process for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat & let sit for 5 more minutes. Remove the jars, do not dry them, and let them sit for 12 - 24 hours to cool. If the top does not pull downwards the relish has not been processed properly, either refrigerate and use or reprocess.

  Ok, those are the instructions one should follow.  However, I read the directions incorrectly and accidently added all the ingredients together and instead of tossing it out and doing over I just let the entire mixture set over night.  Flavor wise it was spot on and since I had it cooking at a high temperature for the 45 minutes I wasn't too concerned.  It is yummy good!